The benefits of prenatal yoga
Prenatal yoga classes are more popular than ever. When paired with a cardiovascular exercise such as walking, yoga can be an ideal way to maintain optimum health and fitness for both you and your developing child during your pregnancy. This age-old practice keeps you limber, tones your muscles, and improves your balance and circulation, with little, if any, impact on your joints.
Yoga is also beneficial because it helps you learn to breathe deeply and relax, which will be helpful as you face the physical demands of labour, birth, and motherhood. In fact, one of the first things you learn in a yoga class is how to breathe fully.
Learning specific, appropriate breathing techniques primes you for labour and childbirth by training you to stay calm when you need it most. When you’re in pain or afraid, your body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labour progress. A regular yoga practice will help you fight the urge to tighten up when you feel pain, and show you how to relax instead.
Along these same lines, according to a report in the April 2009 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, rigorous studies have found scientific proof that yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing heart and breathing rates and lowering blood pressure — which can benefit new Mums after the baby is born, too.
The benefits of yoga aren’t limited to your physical well-being. Taking a prenatal yoga class is a great way to meet other pregnant women — to become part of a community. Being in a positive, supportive environment with others like you can give you a regular emotional boost and keep you motivated to continue exercising.
Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies.
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath
What happens during a typical prenatal yoga class?
- Breathing. You’ll be encouraged to focus on breathing in and out slowly and deeply through the nose. Prenatal yoga breathing techniques might help you reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy and work through contractions during labour.
- Gentle stretching. You’ll be encouraged to gently move different areas of your body, such as your neck and arms, through their full range of motion.
- Postures. While standing, sitting or lying on the ground, you’ll gently move your body into different positions aimed at developing your strength, flexibility and balance. Props — such as blankets, cushions and belts — might be used to provide support and comfort.
- Cool down and relaxation. At the end of each prenatal yoga class, you’ll relax your muscles and restore your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. You might be encouraged to listen to your own breathing, pay close attention to sensations, thoughts and emotions, or repeat a mantra or word to bring about a state of self-awareness and inner calm.
- Time to chat with other Mums to be and your instructor. Sometimes during pregnancy – which is often a rollercoaster of ups and downs, worries and joy – all that is needed is a good chat with other pregnant women and some reassurance and friendly and well informed advce from your yoga instructor. Take some time either before or after class to talk if you feel it will help alleviate any concerns or fears.
Our Pre- Natal YogaTeacher
We are extremely fortunate to have Ciara Butler working with us in our studios. Ciara brings a wealth of experience to her Pre-Natal Yoga classes and has over 10 years experience in Midwifery, Lactation consultancy and Yoga. You can read about her classes on the drop down tabs or follow the links below.
Ciara Butler runs her pregnancy yoga classes on Monday evenings from 8.00pm – 9.30pm
Contact Ciara – 086 1072119